Skincare for the Raw Renegades
By Mara Certic
When Rebecca Underdown started noticing fogginess in her friends’ and family’s skin, she challenged herself to make a defogging skincare cream to give them for Christmas. That challenge turned into an obsession for the East Hampton native and now, five-and-a-half years later, it’s become a full line of regenerative organic skincare products.
In the month leading up to Christmas 2009, Ms. Underdown got to work trying to create the perfect face cream.
“I would make batches and batches early in the morning,” Ms. Underdown said. “I had no intention of making it a business, but it became an obsession,” she said.
Through her studies of acupuncture, she had come to believe in healing the body with powerful, natural ingredients, and translated that into her cream-making.
“The fine science I wound up learning, was to take the most regenerative ingredients the planet has to offer and coupling that with an organic base so the skin and the body can understand what to do: breathe,” Ms. Underdown said. “That’s the ultimate thing I want people to understand.”
“It just kind of hit me like a ton of bricks: I was always concerned with what I put in my body, but not on my body. I started to realize how our skin is like our lungs,” she said. “The biggest misconception we all have about skin is that it’s a barrier,” she added.
Veridatta products, although natural and organic, are not simple in nature.
“I didn’t want to put beeswax on my face. No, I’m a snot, I want the best,” she said. After months of trying to work with a manufacturer, Ms. Underdown realized the only way she could create her creams without certain chemicals was if she made them herself.
So now, Ms. Underdown has a large space in a barn where she makes her six face creams and body cream by herself.
“The overall science behind the formulas isn’t complicated. But to have a formula using these types of ingredients, keeping it stable without the use of heavy chemicals – that’s where it’s complicated,” she said.
“It’s taking the perfect blend and amounts of ingredients in the water phase, and then in a fat phase, and then combining the two. If it’s too hot out or too cold it won’t work,” she said, adding that humid days are the best for mixing up cosmetics.
Ms. Underdown spent time in New Zealand, learning about natural healing oils from the Maori people, including Tamanu oil, which she uses in her night repair cream. Tamanu oil, which is pressed from nuts of the Tamanu tree, actually promotes the formation of new tissue, healing up wounds quickly and encouraging the growth of healthy skin.
Ms. Underdown recently went to Italy, where she found plant stem cells that she now imports to California.
The Veridatta skincare line is split into morning and nighttime products, all of which she recommends for everyone. “I set it up as a system,” she said, “I didn’t make any product that isn’t necessary.” First thing, Ms. Underdown suggests using the Sea Foam Cleanser, Skin Tight Toner and Raw Coconut Day Repair, which she describes as “organic jet fuel for your face.” Before bed she suggests using the Living Enzyme Scrub, Truth Serum and Naked Night Repair. Ms. Underdown also makes a body cream that works to firm and decongest the skin. She uses a lot of earth in that product, which she says purifies the layers of the skin.
While the Veridatta line is mostly sold online, it can be found in some locations on the East End including Provisions in Sag Harbor, Lisa’s Lovely Organics in East Hampton and a few places in Montauk.
She has also launched a crowd-funding campaign to have a regenerative sunscreen formulated for the summer. In fact, Ms. Underdown has partnered up with the Free Ride (who drive their electric cars on the East End, in Florida and in California), who will give out samples of her new sunscreen as soon as it’s been perfected.
“It’s called Veridatta, which comes from truth, because I’m going to do my best to always, always, always put in only the best ingredients,” she said.